K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall
Dreamcatcher Ends 2022 With Content Flurry, Looking Forward To Another Year Of Music
The seven-member K-Pop group kept fans engaged despite being on vacation, showcasing their commitment as they closed out the year.
One thing that I’ve noticed has defined Dreamcatcher over the years is a consistent set of content that allows fans to keep up with them even when they aren’t actively out and about on the comeback trail. Whether it’s with occasional livestreams, fun slice-of-life pieces (who would have thought Siyeon messing with a waffle iron would be so entertaining, for instance), or other media, Dreamcatcher has always ensured their fans aren’t starving for content.
So it came as no surprise to me that even though they’re currently on a well-deserved month-long break, they’d continue to drop in some holiday content gifts for fans in a couple different forms. What was surprising, delightfully so, was the nature of that content, highlighting once again the length and breadth of their talent in their work in K-Pop.
Let’s take a look at what Dreamcatcher had us unwrap to end 2022!
The first to strike was Handong, and true to her tendency to play spoiler queen (a crown she arguably grabbed from a more cautious Yoohyeon in the past year or so), she said in her recent Weverse live stream that she’d prepared Chinese lyrics for a number of Dreamcatcher songs. Because Handong has mentioned previously that she fit her native language into Dreamcatcher songs most folks let this pass by as an offhand comment, only to have the pleasant surprise of a Special Clip featuring Dreamcatcher’s Chinese-born member singing a medley of well-known Dreamcatcher B-sides.
In addition to the fact that it’s already impressive to have done the work of translating, transposing, and fitting her native language seamlessly into existing songs, the clip itself has a high amount of production quality. Combining footage taken from what appears to be scenic urban shots from the recent European tour along with some indoor footage with distinct and deliberate fashion, Handong ended up conveying a different mood and feel for each song, from “A Heart of Sunflower” to “Jazz Bar” to “Daydream” and finally “Polaris”. The emotion she conveyed with each rendition in Chinese was palpable as she sang.
Since her return to the group in 2021 from China, Dreamcatcher Company has constantly supported and rewarded Handong for her development and increased confidence, and this Special Clip, which allowed her to sing Dreamcatcher songs in the language of her birth is the latest argument for this. Fans are fortunate that by all external accounts Dreamcatcher Company knows how to treat a foreign-born member of the group, and it shows.
Dreamcatcher is well-known for their expansive catalog of cover songs, but only a few of them are collaborations between the members. Yoohyeon and Dami, also known as the “97 line” for their same birth years, became the first Dreamcatcher subunit to repeat a Special Clip collab, the previous one being 2021’s “Mood” cover. This time around, instead of casual and fun, Yoohyeon and Dami decided to go a bit heavier, embracing the brooding and personal inner monologue of Billie Eilish’s “NDA”. Combining this with the rock-style fashion vibes that we saw during the group’s Love Catcher concept book photoshoot during the summer but with a slightly darker edge to it. The result is a Special Clip that captures the original song’s message about the dilemma of being famous. To me, it’s filmed in a way that (at least by the song’s concept as presented by Yoohyeon and Dami) shows a scenario in which they’re being their more “real”, even raw, selves when the cameras are off. If I’m right in my supposition, its an interesting message given the fact that K-Pop, in general, is very much about outward presentation that may sometimes obscure some of who the artists truly are.
The behind-the-scenes vlog from Yoohyeon, of course, shows yet another example of that fun duality of Dreamcatcher that appeals to many fans. People who’ve been following Dreamcatcher for a while know that offstage they’re perhaps just as bright, humorous, and friendly as any other K-Pop group, a contrast to their fierce, dark, and serious stage and song presentation. But I do think certain combinations of members just seem to exude that more than others, and the 97 liners fit this to a tee. Yoohyeon and Dami have always been casual and fun with one another, and footage such as Yoohyeon secretly filming Dami in full concept mode and Dami trolling Yoohyeon over only wanting to be closer in the choreography because she was feeling cold are just two examples. 2022 has been the year that Dreamcatcher Vlogs returned in force, and Yoohyeon’s have always been a delight to watch. Getting one so soon after the “NDA” cover was just a nice bonus.
The next surprise came close to Christmas, as Dreamcatcher maknae (youngest member) Gahyeon dropped a Special Clip cover of a song that’s just as old as she is in Fin.K.L’s “White”. The fact that we saw a solo Gahyeon special clip from her was a long time in coming — she’s said that she’s been particular about the choices she makes for solo covers and it partially explains why there’s been so few of them from her over the years. This time around, however, she proved the wait was worth it, as she provided a bright, reflective, and pleasant atmosphere to the holiday season, with scenes of sharing Christmas with the viewer.
The last solo Special Clip from Gahyeon aside from “Playground”, her part of the set of solos from Dreamcatcher’s 2nd full album, was her cover of Stella Jang’s “Vanishing Paycheck” in 2020, and I’d speculate the long layoff between clips is because Gahyeon feels she wants to do the song she’s covering justice as far as concept and presentation. Just as “Vanishing Paycheck” was for Gahyeon a way to show the sometimes-fun temptation of having and spending money, “White” seemed to be her way of conveying her feelings about the holidays. Like “Playground”, Gahyeon embraces nostalgia and memory, much like the original song by Fin.K.L. does, and places it in the context of sharing Christmas with loved ones and making moments to remember. In a world of complex, sometimes-pessimistic emotion about the holiday, Gahyeon’s clip was a breath of fresh optimism, reminding people that the little things, such as sharing a meal or listening to a song together, can still make a holiday.
As a bonus, the photo dump of pictures from this Special Clip included a magazine cover designed by style channel CeCi Korea, a throwback to when the publication was in print. Aside from other Dreamcatcher highlights, this seemed to spoil that more Special Clips were coming, as JiU, SuA, and Siyeon were mentioned as “features” in the magazine. There is, of course, already speculation that this cover contained next album/comeback spoilers, with one person pointing out the colored letters spelled the word “REASON”. I’m pretty skeptical about this — Dreamcatcher has never deviated from Mystery Codes as the one source for title track spoilers, and it’s also way too soon since the last comeback in October. We’ll just have to see if it pans out.
One thing that did come to pass from the magazine cover was another Special Clip, this time from JiU, covering Younha’s “Event Horizon”, a song that managed a bit of interesting virality by climbing to the top of the MelOn top 100 222 days after release. Like Gahyeon’s cover, JiU’s take on the tune was nostalgic and filled with memories, with the simple production of the video showing her going from student to working adult with the song as her accompanying theme walking to her destination.
Looking back and reflecting is probably top in JiU’s mind right now — the group, after all, accomplished their first music show win this year after almost 2,000 days since debut (and for JiU and the rest of the members of Dreamcatcher who comprised MINX, it’s been even longer). Dreamcatcher also renewed contracts for an unspecified amount of time but well before their expiry. Both of these events are significant in JiU’s (and Dreamcatcher’s) career as a K-Pop artist, so it’s no surprise that she picked a song about treasured memories and new beginnings to cover. As the leader of Dreamcatcher, JiU has no doubt felt a sense of responsibility to the group to ensure their success both together and individually, and hopefully she feels she’s done that. Certainly, she’s drawn strength from the fans to do so, and it sure seems like you can sense that pouring out in her singing for this cover, one that has in my opinion a somewhat uncommon highlighting of JiU’s vocal power. Hearing her belt out the chorus as the video shows her walking towards what will hopefully be the continuation of a successful and satisfying career seemed to confirm her optimism over what the future holds.
We still have what will likely be one more Special Clip (a hinted SuA/Siyeon collaboration per the CeCi magazine cover), but while we wait for that, Dreamcatcher Company wasn’t done with the content. An expectation that there would be Dreamcatcher’s Notes for the Seoul concert in October and the recent European tour was known among the fandom, but not that the company would drop a triple-helping of Seoul concert behind-the-scenes content in a single week. The three Notes, focusing on the live band rehearsal and on both days of the Seoul concert-fest, brought with them their usual helping of Dreamcatcher humor, talent, and thoughts about the event (and some nice funny bonuses like Yoohyeon losing her phone yet again).
The crowd crush tragedy that occurred in Itaewon for Halloween certainly made the decision to move forward with and also to perform a concert event somewhat daunting, but a change in the name out of respect for the victims plus a determination to provide local fans with a show that persevered were perhaps factors in Dreamcatcher Company and the group deciding to perform. Indeed the Notes showed the group, as always, determined to put on a great show but also to enjoy doing so for the fans’ sake if not for themselves. Once again we saw all of the group and company’s hard work pay off as both days of the show went over extremely well from my viewpoint. Seeing what went on backstage is always a nice bonus treat.
But it’s not like Dreamcatcher is resting on their laurels, even after winning a top award in Forbes Korea’s end-of-year online event. Local South Korean Dreamcatcher fans had the opportunity to close out the year testing out the product of a collaboration between Dreamcatcher and VR platform developer VENTA X — a VR concert on Oculus headsets. To be released via the VENTA X app/Meta Quest platform in 2023, “Dreamcatcher: The Curse of the Spider” seemed to, from testers’ accounts, put you right in the mix as someone in production to be up close and personal with Dreamcatcher themselves as they planned and performed. The full final product, which appears to have been planned since at least two months ago, wasn’t revealed to testers, but if it’s a combination of behind-the-scenes production and concert viewing events it’ll be an interesting and new way to show Dreamcatcher to fans on a new medium. It does seem to show that Dreamcatcher is going to hit the ground running in 2023.
Dreamcatcher wished their fans a Happy New Year and I hope you are having one as well. As I enter my 4th year of writing weekly content for the group, I am humbled and appreciative of my small, but dedicated following and hope you’ll stick around for more Dreamcatcher news, updates and thoughts about the group from me! Be sure to clap, subscribe, and signal boost, and I’ll see you here next week as we begin a new year of Dreamcatcher content!